Hemorrhagic cardiac tamponade complicated by acute type A aortic dissection: A case report with critical care ultrasound findings

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Abstract

Rationale:

Acute type A aortic dissection (AAAD) is a potentially fatal clinical crisis. Hemorrhagic cardiac tamponade due to the rupture of an ascending aortic root dissection is extremely dangerous and often lacks timely clinical evidence. We report sudden death in a patient diagnosed with AAAD and in whom critical care ultrasound highly indicated hemorrhagic cardiac tamponade.

Presenting concerns:

A 75-year-old man was admitted to our emergency department with a complaint of chest pain for 8 hours. Computed tomography angiography findings indicated AAAD with a wide range of lesions. During the preoperative preparation process, he suddenly lost consciousness with a pulseless femoral artery.

Presenting concerns:

Diagnoses: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was initiated and critical care ultrasound revealed hemorrhagic cardiac tamponade, strongly indicating the rupture of an ascending aortic root dissection.

Interventions:

However, family members refused further surgical interventions.

Outcomes:

The etiology could not be reversed and the patient died.

Lessons:

Critical care ultrasound is an important skill that intensivists should master for fast screening of life-threatening complications in patients with AAAD.

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